Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Hoagie Man

Winnie’s a smart girl. Smart and rambunctious. She’s shy sometimes sure, but she’s young and just started school so it’s understandable. She’s very imaginative too.

It’s funny because she has this “friend”, at least I call him a friend, even though they haven’t truly met. She calls him “The Hoagie Man”, she must see him every day.

Her school is located a bit downtown, you see. How the children learn anything over the hustle and bustle of the big city I’ll never know. I think he stops there regularly every day, there’s a big internet company across the street and the lunch rush must be quite large.

He owns a food truck, I don’t recall the name. I’ve seen him once or twice while I was dropping Winnie off when she misses the bus. The first time she was very excited to show off every detail of her new school. I met all her friends from Art class, she called it Heart class, and all her teachers. Before I left I spotted him out of the corner of my eye. She must have noticed because she hiccuped and exclaimed “That’s The Hoagie Man!” before rushing inside with the rest of her classmates. The second time I saw him was after.

Like I said my daughter is very imaginative. She kept on talking about The Hoagie Man, and how she saw him. He started coming home with her, at least that’s how she put it. She must have spotted his truck alongside the bus as they make their way home. Her imagination took off from there. Soon, The Hoagie Man was following her every time she was in a moving vehicle. It became like a game to her, where even going out to the lake for a long weekend she would would spot “The Hoagie Man”. And I’d be darned because there would be a truck selling hot dogs or tacos right on the sidewalk of the public beach!

More-so than just the truck, she started seeing the man too. She would go out and play in our half-acre backyard, collecting shiny stones or colorful flowers and come in with her sweet, shy smile and say she was out playing with Hoagie Man. He became the voice when she read her books, she called them “hooks”. He was sitting next to when she was doing homework, helping with answers. He was always there with her, had helped her make sense of the things she couldn’t comprehend.

One night, she had a nightmare. She told me that The Hoagie Man had promised her something, she wouldn’t tell me what, but it made her very anxious, I could tell. She had said he was acting different from before, less friendly. Demanding things. She cried and held me tight as she whispered in my ear that he had “floated up” and hovered there, staring at her.

Things were different after that, she stopped talking about The Hoagie Man. She had gotten sick soon thereafter, a fever that ran for almost a week. She didn’t sleep, I could hear her whining through my own bouts of insomnia. Our car games were over as we would both spot a “Hoagie Man” and she would turn away from the windows.

The next time I saw “The Hoagie Man”, the real one beside her school, it was outside my work. I came outside after a stressful board meeting to get some fresh air, and there he was. I could smell that aroma, a mix of grilled onions and propane. I was hungry so I figured, “why not”? He looked at me and smiled. We stood there for a bit, me staring and him smiling, then he excused himself and asked for my order… I don’t remember what I ordered. I don’t even really remember what he looked like, I just remember that moment of us looking at each other.. And his expression, this plain smile and behind it… nothingness.

I hope you find my Winnie, and I hope you find the son of bitch who took her, officer.

But you won’t.

She called books, “hooks”. She called books, “HOOKS

Don’t you understand?

She wasn’t saying Hoagie Man.

She was saying Bogieman.

#16 Convergence

[Part One]

(The tap-tap-tapping of boot heels rap on the linoleum of an empty hallway. White robe shreds sweep over top snakeskin boots as the camera rises up, show Joshua Rapture strolling under ceremonial white robes in the hallway of his fitness center. It is eerily quiet, the only two sounds are the echoes of forward motion and a sort of whistling/humming that escapes Joshua Rapture’s throat. He stops at the awning of the hallway and the camera sweeps to showcase the gymnasium, it is completely empty. Joshua sighs and sets down something heavy, then slowly makes his way to a water cooler on the back wall. Joshua takes a paper Dixie cup from a stack next to the cooler and fills it, drinks it quickly, and fills it again. He kicks over the water cooler.)

Joshua Rapture: Nothing. I have been awarded with nothing. Sacrificing my body at Battlebowl. Nothing.

(Rapture walks over to some personal trainers’ desks, throwing personal computers and stacks of paper on the ground angry precision.)

Rapture: Dog Collar Match with Moonwater. Nothing.

(Rapture picks up a coffee cup off one of the desks and throws into at the back wall of the gym, shards exploding everywhere.)

Rapture: Canada Cup… Nothing! And now my final chance to be redeemed? Nothing.

(Rapture pauses on this thought and slowly makes his way to a boxing ring in the corner. In silence, he hops up onto the apron and makes his way into the ring. His fists start clenching uncontrollably, his anger no longer maintained, he paces back and forth as he addresses the camera directly.)

Rapture: I CHOSE to fight. I GIVE you everything. I get… NOTHING. I did it all for YOU, the people of NAPW.

(Rapture makes his way into a corner and sets his hands on the top turnbuckle, grasping, twisting and ripping it away at it.)

Rapture: Do I get applauded? Do get thanked? Do I get ANYTHING that I deserve?? No! I get get spat on and ignored! I don’t even get a fair chance at NAPW title! I’m told that I’m supposed “just follow along” and do everything “according to plan”. WHO’S Plan? God’s Plan?? Because it seems to me that HE (gesturing upwards) doesn’t want anything to do with me.

What about MY plans, huh? MY success, MY career, that title was MINE. It was MY birthright, and it was taken. That title BELONGS to ME. Even before that metal was forged and the leather tanned, it was MY destiny to be THEE WORLD CHAMPION!

(Rapture leaves the tattered turnbuckle and exit the ring, going back to hallway where he left something on the floor. It turns out to be a jerrycan full of gasoline. Rapture untwists the cap and throws it away, turns the can sideways and start to pour over the floor of his fitness center.)

Rapture: What about me, now? What about Joshua Rapture? Abbey Graves goes on to face some young punk kid, conveniently enough. But me? Well that’s the million dollar question isn’t it? “What to do with Joshua Rapture?” Face another punk kid, maybe that freak who thinks he’s a superhero? Gimme a break.

The only person who has peeked my interest is Jay Deschain. Because at least he STANDS for something. Unlike all the rest, who beg and plead for the fans’ acceptance, Jay gleefully rejects it. He has one goal, the NAPW title. And like me, will do anything to get it. Jay, I don’t know whether to shake your hand or punch you in the face but, if you ever stand in between me and the NAPW title again… I will end you.

And to everybody else? Anyone who thinks they can stop Joshua Rapture? Any AT ALL, whether your an old New Dawn member, hotshot wrestling upstart or an established star, who THINKS that Joshua Rapture is not the rightful heir to NAPW’s Championship. I want you all…

(Rapture, now at the exit doors, lights a match.)

Rapture: To Burn in Hell.

Fwoom. Fade.